That’s about all I can say. Wow! I said it again. After only four days in Israel we have covered a great deal of territory, and I mean that in every sense of the word. The small group I am traveling with is on a Geopolitical/Catholic Pilgrimage/Archeological Adventure.
Here are just a few highlights from all three categories:
We have heard from some of Israel’s top innovators in a variety of fields. They are seeking to solve humanitarian issues on a global level. The predominant theme of the culture is this: “It all starts with an idea!” The Israeli government gives the training, support and freedom to fail (a very important factor in being creative) to those who have the chutzpah to explore their “ideas”. Israel is now known as “Start-Up Nation” and has an enormous success rate to prove that what they are doing is working. Example: Last night we had a spectacular dinner where grasshoppers were offered as one of the many courses. This ancient Biblical food source looks to be the up and coming “alternative protein” that will be used to solve the world’s food challenges. (Who knew they are kosher!?) The brilliant young man who has come up with this idea and now has several grasshopper farms (which are housed on former chicken farms that required multiple times the amount of water, feed and energy to produce something far less nutritious than the grasshopper), cannot handle the growing worldwide demand for his product. This alternative protein is virtually tasteless and can be ground into a powder and sprinkled or added to just about anything. In only a few short years he hopes to have grasshopper farms in multiple developing nations where the need for a sustainable food source is most critical. Take away: everyone of the guys and gals we have met are uber smart...I bet Jesus was just like this with a twinkle in His eye and sly smile on His face. Jesus had big, world changing ideas too.
Our Pilgrimage portion has taken us from Galilee where Jesus had the majority of His earthly ministry now into Jerusalem. To walk where He walked and to see what He saw is a most humbling experience. There is nothing like breathing the air where Jesus spoke His transformative words, standing on the ground where Jesus placed His beautiful feet, reaching out and healing those most in need, and touching the water that Jesus walked upon, to make the Gospels really come alive. It is no wonder that the Holy Land is called “The Fifth Gospel.” Take away: I am being super saturated with the presence and love of Jesus-- the life changer, both then and now.
We are traveling with one of Israel’s leading archeologists. He is a deep well of enthusiasm and information. To hear a Jewish archeologist speak factually about Jesus Christ is really quite something. Today we traveled under the city of Jerusalem’s streets via an ancient aqueduct and a newly discovered first century city street presently under excavation which is located about twenty five feet underground. I have never experienced history brought to life like this. We walked barefoot on the stones that Jesus must have walked upon when He entered the Temple area, both as a child and as an adult. We then toured the holiest of Jewish sights, the Western Wall, where I placed my prayers for each of you (see photo) and then went subterranean to view the latest archeological finds under this holiest of sights. Take away: Jesus was then and still is alive today, there is just way too much factual evidence to think otherwise (even if someone is not a Christian), therefore I need to live this life-changing truth every minute of every day.
“For the peace of Jerusalem pray: ‘May those who love you prosper!’” Psalm 122:6
My BIG idea-- pray for the peace of Jerusalem...IN Israel. The one trip that will change your life forever.*
Thank You for coming to this earth and being made man to show me how to live. Even the very secular and highly successful Jewish newspaper editor said that of all the people that have ever lived in Israel-- You are the most influential and important. I pray that You will be this to me--everyday, the most influential and important person in my life. Thank You that You are a fact, not a made up story that is too good to be true, but real flesh and blood, soul and divinity come to earth. May I never grow dull to that fact and by Your grace, long to know you more each day of my life.
I ask this in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.